Arsenal Should Build Brighter Future Around Bukayo Saka

Copyright – Arsenal.com

Arsenal have got quite the array of young talent coming through their ranks at the moment.

Luckily enough they also have a rookie and talented coach in Mikel Arteta that seems keen to bleed these prodigious talented youths into his first team plans.

For me, the pick of the bunch and the player that could The Gunners next top star is Bukayo Saka.

Still just eighteen years of age, Saka has had a fantastic breakthrough season at the Emirates.

Always eager to impress and get minutes under his belt, Bukayo has made over thirty appearances for the senior side this term. He has impressed in various positions having played as a left-back, left winger, left sided forward, right forward, as a number ten and as a central midfielder so far this season.

Personally, I think he’s best suited to the attacking left winger role but being versatile will at least give him more time on the pitch.

As a creative force, Saka has shown some really mature performances in the final third. He has created five assists in the Premier League so far this term (Only Nicolas Pepe has made more league assists for Arsenal this season) and another five in the Europa League. He has also managed four goals in all competitions.

Bukayo is a very energetic, enthusiastic and skilful performer.

Last night in The Gunners 1-1 draw with Leicester City (BBC Match Report) he showed all his qualities. He ran relentlessly and was always eager to run in behind the Foxes defence. For Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal, Saka got in behind Caglar Söyüncü before skilfully getting beyond Johnny Evans and laying it on to Aubameyang.

Former Gunners forward Robin Van Persie loved Saka’s movement and assist:

Earlier this year it was announced that Bukayo Saka had signed a new long term deal at Arsenal (Via Arseblog.com). That gives Arteta time to rebuild his squad and have Saka play a pivotal role within his side.

Arteta has been extremely impressed with the youngster and will be delighted to tie him down:

“Bukayo is a talented and intelligent young player. He has impressed me with his work ethic and attitude to learn and adapt, and it has paid off in his performances. I am excited to continue working with him to develop him further, and for him to help us achieve our goals.”

Mikel Arteta Via Arsenal.com

The great news for Mikel Arteta and the Arsenal faithful is that this should just be the beginning for Bukayo Saka. The more he plays, the better he should get. He has an abundance of talent and hopefully he can fulfil his full potential at Arsenal!

Time Could Be Right For Man United To Sell English Duo

Manchester United have been very strong since the Premier League restarted after lockdown. They are now extremely close to a top four finish.

But when Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reviews this season as a whole, when it finally finishes, then he’ll probably assess his squad and decide on what players haven’t contributed enough. Those stars may be allowed to depart Old Trafford, freeing up funds to reinforce his pool with a better quality of player.

I think two England internationalists could be allowed to leave during the summer transfer window if an appropriate bid comes in for them.

The two in question are Phil Jones and Jesse Lingard.

This has been Phil’s ninth season at United and I don’t think he has ever fully fulfilled his potential. He’s only managed to play on eight occasions so far this season, of which only two of those have been in the Premier League.

Injuries have hampered Jones’ time at Old Trafford but so have mistakes. If Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire are fully fit then Phil Jones isn’t getting a look in. At twenty-eight, it’s surely better for the player to move on and get first team football elsewhere and it’s better for Man United to offload that wage and bring in a player that will offer a fight for a centre-back berth.

Jesse Lingard has been involved a lot more than Jones but the attacking midfielder has struggled to make a real impact whilst on the field.

Jesse hasn’t bagged a single goal or an assist in his twenty league appearances this season. Bruno Fernandes arrived in January and the Portuguese maestro has become the real creative force in that number ten position and has pushed Lingard out of starting contention.

To stay at a club the size of Man Utd, endeavour simply isn’t enough! You need to provide more and as a forward thinking player you have to be able to change games. Jesse Lingard has gone too long without being able to do that.

Then you also have to factor in the fact that the England international forward only has a year to run on his current contract, surely it’s better to cash in now.

Former Red Devils hitman Dwight Yorke has stated to Stadium Astro that Jesse’s time could be up at United unless he does something between now and the end of this campaign:

“At 27 years of age, you ought to be a bit regular. If it’s not happening, maybe he has to look elsewhere. But for now, he’s still got some games and he’s still got to prove himself.”

Dwight Yorke Via Goal.com

There could be plenty of departures this summer for Manchester United.

I’m pretty sure the club will probably look to move Alexis Sanchez and Marcos Rojo on in permanent deals. They could also allow Chris Smalling to turn his loan move to AS Roma into a longterm transfer. I’m not sure if Andreas Pereira has a future at Old Trafford, he could be sold if a bid comes in. I would also be interested to know Ole’s thoughts on Eric Bailly. The Daily Mail have also suggested Juan Mata could be on his way to Turkish side Fenerbahce.

I still think that it could suit everyone involved that Man United add Phil Jones and Jesse Lingard to the list of players they are willing to sell.

To challenge for top titles United can’t remain loyal t underperforming stars. Sir Alex Ferguson was ruthless when it came to ending United careers and now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has to do the same,

Partey/Edouard In For Guendouzi/Lacazette Would Represent Good Summer For Arsenal

Arsenal manager Mikel Artea will know that he’ll have a bit of a rebuilding job to do at the Emirates in the summer.

The rookie boss could do well if he keeps it smart and simple with certain deals.

Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey has been strongly linked with the Gunners all year. It’s thought that the defensive minded star has a £47m release clause (Source Goal.com) and that the Ghanian is ready to leave his current employers.

That all bodes well for Arsenal, who still need more energy, height and tackling qualities in their engine room.

Thomas has a strong passing average of above 84% in La Liga this term, wins around 2 headers per game and also 2 tackles per domestic outing too (Stats from Whoscored). He’s know for being able to win the ball and also holding onto it for his team.

Partey is rumoured to be extremely keen to join Arteta’s side (Source The Metro) and that could entice Arsenal to step up their interest.

Now it looks increasingly unlikely that Arsenal will secure a top four finish this term and that will mean no Champions League football for the Gunners next season. That will in turn severely impact on their transfer budget.

But alas maybe a deal could be done that will see forward Alexandre Lacazette move in the opposite direction. The striker has done a decent job in North London but the main goal threat comes from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who Arsenal still need to tie down to a long term deal (if they can).

Los Rojiblancos are known to be long time admirers of the French striker and so a straight swap could suit all parties!

If Thomas Partey were to arrive at The Emirates, then you could imagine that Arteta would be able to free some more funds by selling off one of his current central midfielders.

Granit Xhaka has had a few nightmares since joining Arsenal in 2016. Earlier in this campaign his career in London seemed to be over after he fell out with his own supporters but his performances have vastly improved under Arteta’s guidance and I’d imagine his stay will continue beyond this summer.

Lucas Torreira is a real battler and a bit of a fan favourite but the Uruguayan international has still to win a regular place in the Arsenal starting eleven. His future remains unclear.

The biggest question mark surrounds Matteo Guendouzi. The young French middle man was extremely popular under former boss Unai Emery but his discipline has been called into question under his new gaffer.

Matteo was criticised with his antics during his side’s recent Premier League loss to Brighton. Afterwards it was reported that he made quips at opponents about their wage compared to his.

He has since been dropped by Arteta, who then confirmed it was down to an ‘internal matter‘:

“Whatever internal issue we have, we deal with it privately.

“The needs of the team and the football club are always the same – put the best players on the pitch who are 100 per cent focused on winning the game.”

Mikel Arteta via Talksport

If the Spanish coach believes Guendouzi has problems with ill discipline then it could be better off selling the youngster. Plus he’ll know that he could get a very decent price for the twenty-one year old, especially if a superpower like PSG or Barcelona are interested in his signature.

Now while The Gunners have quite a few talented young forwards on their books, you’d still expect them to bring in another central striker if Lacazette were to move to Atletico Madrid.

A potential readymade replacement could be Celtic hitman Odsonne Edouard.

The French under-21 internationalist has been in superb form for The Scottish Premiership champions since is arrival in 2017.

He has bagged 62 goals in 126 appearances for The Hoops. He’s a big game player scoring multiple times against main rivals Rangers, in Cup Finals and eleven times in Europe!

The striker can play as a solo front-man or as a partner with others. Odsonne has both pace and power. He can come deep, freeing up room for a fellow forward – ideal for someone like Aubameyang. Edouard can also run at or in behind defences. He holds the ball up well and brings others into the game.

His style and attributes aren’t too dissimilar to that of Alexandre Lacazette. Edouard’s current deal runs out in 2022, if he doesn’t sign a new one then this summer could be Celtic’s best chance of getting an optimum fee for the Frenchman.

By bringing in two players like Thomas Partey and Odsonne Edouard and selling Alexandre Lacazette and Matteo Guendouzi, Arsenal would be getting two fresh ambitious faces and players that would be eager to impress Mikel Arteta.

It could also leave a wee bit of cash in the pot for Arsenal to rectify that dodgy defence – HintThiago Silva is not the answer!

Celtic Shouldn’t Take Gamble On Joe Hart

I am not totally surprised to see Celtic being linked with former England and Manchester City number one Joe Hart (Source The Scotsman).

It wouldn’t really surprise me if the Scottish Premiership champions were happy to see their name linked with the goalkeeper. They do need a new shot-stopper given Fraser Forster has returned to Southampton after his loan spell last term and former number one Craig Gordon leaving to rejoin Hearts this summer (Confirmed by HeartsFC.co.uk)

Now I don’t think The Hoops are actively looking to seal a deal with Hart, I actually think they’ll be more inclined to use the speculation as a bargaining chip to use in their transfer negotiations to bring Forster back to Parkhead from Southampton.

If Neil Lennon and Celtic’s hierarchy are serious in regards to Joe Hart, then I would urge extreme caution.

In his prime, Hart was a very good goalie at City and with England. He was cock of the north and loved the adulation that came with being number one for both club and country.

Joe was never the best keeper in the world, as he wasn’t great with his distribution and had the odd mistake within his game but saying that he had plenty of self confidence and had terrific reflexes.

Unfortunately that wasn’t enough for Pep Guardiola and when the legendary coach arrived at The Etihad he instantly decided that Hart didn’t fit in with his plans and need for a sweeper keeper.

Hart wasn’t helped by the fact he had also endured a poor Euros in 2016, two of his mistakes led to goals against his own team.

Hart was quick to realise that his time was up at Man City:

“I spent not a great deal of time with him but we immediately had a difference in opinion in how our careers were going to go. I was up against a superpower.

Joe Hart Via Manchester Evening News

Now in the four years since Guardiola’s arrival, City have gone from strength to strength and unfortunately for Joe his career has totally spiralled in the opposite direction.

A loan move to Serie A with Torino was marred by too many individual errors by the shot-stopper.

West Ham United then took him on loan during the next season and he ended that campaign on the bench as again too many mistakes crept into his game.

The goalkeeper then moved on a permanent deal to Burnley and he’s been there for the last two years.

In his first year at Turf Moor, he played in nineteen Premier League games but that was more out of necessity than due to his performance. He arrived with Nick Pope and Tom Heaton out injured. They would both overtake Hart in Sean Dyche’s plans once they were fully fit again. Ironically both were also ahead of Hart in the pecking order for England.

Joe didn’t make a single league appearance in the 2019-20 campaign for The Clarets and it was announced that he’d leave the club this month (From Daily Mail).

In all honesty Joe Hart has been a broken man since his City departure. He has lost that confidence that would see him get the best out of himself. Plus he still has all those failings that saw Pep dump him in the first place.

Why would Celtic gamble on a goalie that is past his best, just when they ‘re in the hunt for that elusive tenth league title in a row.

I don’t think he’s as good as Fraser Forster and in the last four years I don’t think he has been as good as the now departed Craig Gordon.

I’m not saying that Joe Hart couldn’t do a job at Celtic but when the chips are down can you bank on him not making a mistake in a game that really mattered?

There are better options out there and I just can’t see many upsides in Celtic bringing in a keeper that’s well past his peak!

Man United Could Just Get The Focused Paul Pogba That They Always Wanted

It’s fair to say that Paul Pogba has had a bit of a rollercoaster ride since arriving back at Manchester United in the summer of 2016.

The French World Cup winner has been seen as the focal point to this current United team. He has scored vital goals and created numerous assists but interlaced in those virtuoso performances has been low key and frustrating outings.

Reports seem to surface during every transfer window that the midfielder is keen to leave Old Trafford, this was especially true during Jose Mourinho’s tenure in charge of The Red Devils.

Some in the media and some amongst the Man United faithful also complained and left perplexed that Paul seemed to give more assured and disciplined performances for his national side!

Injury has curtailed much of Pogba’s season but it hasn’t stopped rumours linking the player with a move to Real Madrid (Source The Metro).

Yet the twenty-seven year old has returned post lockdown and looks to be more disciplined and just as influential.

A big reason for this, in my opinion, has been the arrival of Portuguese maestro Bruno Fernandes.

People often thought that the signing of defensive minded Nemanja Matic was to give Pogba license to roam and flourish as a creative talent.

But in truth, Paul Pogba likes to be more of an number eight who can do both at any given time. So playing in a midfield three with Scott McTominay/Matic and Fernandes seems to suit the Frenchman.

He doesn’t need to stick completely to one role. He can help out in the engine room when he’s needed and move forward when the opportunity arises.

With Fernandes making an instant impact at Man Utd, he has taken away the need for Pogba to feel he constantly has to be chief creator and be on the front foot.

In Man United’s 3-0 home win over Sheffield United (BBC Match Report), the game in which Fernandes and Pogba started in their first game together, both were terrific and helped ticking the game over in United’s favour.

Pogba gave one of his most disciplined performances in a United jersey. In the main he stuck to the right side of his midfield’s righthand side, pushing forwards to help the attack when possible.

Paul made the most amount of successful dribbles, made sixty-six key passes and was very good in the air too. (Stats Via Whoscored)

The midfield partnership excites current Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who also stated that having Bruno at the club will allow him to move Pogba around:

“I’m certain they can play well together, yes,”

“They’ve both played well in training and in the games they play together it’s exciting. There will be rotations and there will be times that Paul will play up with Bruno, sometimes it’s deeper, sometimes we will play with a diamond. It’s encouraging to see them together.” 

Via ManUtd.com

The future is starting to look a bit brighter for Manchester United. Their now seems to be a more balanced squad and the players seem hungry to succeed at the top level.

If Solskjaer and his club’s hierarchy can add a few more top class new recruits this summer and keep Paul Pogba happy at the club, then maybe just maybe The Red Devils can mount more of a serious challenge on significant silverware next term.

Chelsea Could Be Next To Rival For Premier League Title

Liverpool are deserved Premier League champions this season.

Yet it was Chelsea that helped The Reds secure their first top flight title in thirty years, when they defeated last season’s champions Manchester City during the week (BBC Match Report).

As well as securing Liverpool’s title triumph, that result also showed us that Chelsea’s potential under current coach Frank Lampard is very real!

Many sides would suffer if given a years transfer ban, yet The Blues have actually thrived during those difficult circumstances.

The club’s hierarchy sought out Chelsea legend Frank Lampard, who had just experienced his first year as a football manager at Derby County. The rookie boss showed that he had the skill-set to work well with a club’s youth set-up and that excited The Blues support. It also helped that he brought with him fellow former Chelsea man Jody Morris, who had successfully worked with The Blues academy in the past.

So with the management team believing in playing bright youngsters, Morris knowing the talent that Chelsea had in their academy and with a transfer ban hanging over the club it has actually meant that Chelsea have evolved as a football club.

Youngsters like Recce James, Mason Mount, Billy Gilmour and Fikayo Tomori have all been given more minutes on the pitch and they’ve impressed.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi have battled back from injury and straight into the first team picture again.

New signings (done before the transfer ban) Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic have added something different to the first team ranks too.

Older players like Olivier Giroud, N’Golo Kante and Cesar Azpilicueta have helped bring the best out of the youngsters.

They’ve performed really well this term, currently sitting in the Premier League’s top four. They’re also still in the FA Cup.

One thing they probably need is a bit more star power and strength in depth in certain areas.

Yet Chelsea and Lampard seem to be acting quickly in bringing in top quality new recruits.

Hakim Ziyech is an extremely talented right sided attacker. In twenty-seven Eredivisie and Champions League appearances, Hakim has managed to score eight goals and create sixteen assists for Ajax in the 2019-20 campaign.

The Moroccan will join the Stamford Bridge team in a £37m deal on July the first (Source Talksport).

Next season Ziyech will be joined at Chelsea by Timo Werner. The German international was highly sought after but The Blues blew any other potential suitor out of the water with an eye watering bid.

Werner has been a prolific goalscorer for Bundesliga side RB Leipzig. His goals will be most welcome at Stamford Bridge. The player himself is happy to be heading to London and believes the future looks bright for both himself and his new employers:

‘I am delighted to be signing for Chelsea, it is a very proud moment for me to be joining this great club. I of course want to thank RB Leipzig, the club and the fans, for four fantastic years. You will forever be in my heart. I look forward to next season with my new team-mates, my new manager and of course the Chelsea fans. Together we have a very successful future ahead of us.’

Werner via Chelseafc.com

Both of these new recruits will boost the Chelsea ranks with more goals and assists.

The Blues have also been heavily linked with Kai Havertz and Ben Chilwell.

Frank Lampard is known to be a fan of Havertz (From Evening Standard) and the young German midfielder does look like a top notch player. The Bayer Leverkusen star makes perfectly timed runs into the box and finishes his chances with aplomb. He shares plenty of traits with Lampard the player!

The Chelsea boss doesn’t seem to be overly convinced be either Marcos Alonso or Emerson Palmieri. Chilwell has impressed at Leicester City, helping them gain a place in the top four. His performances have seen him rewarded by winning a call-up for the England national team. It will be interesting to see how much The Foxes want for the left back, reports suggest it could be as high as £75m (Source – The Metro)

If Chelsea could add those two players to those two that they’ve already signed plus then maybe another goalkeeper and a top class centre-half then Chelsea could be ready to join Liverpool and Man City in next season’s Premier League title race.

Frank Lampard really seems to be building a dynasty at Stamford Bridge. If they can win the FA Cup this term and bring in a few more world class performers, then that could be the foundations to something really special.

Simply Sensational Liverpool Deserved Premier League Title

Last night, 2019 English champions Manchester City lost to Chelsea and that defeat handed Liverpool their first ever Premier League title.

The Reds have been terrific this term, only dropping seven points all season.

When you look at the Anfield club from top to bottom it’s hard to find any real weaknesses. They could be fighting for all the major titles for years to come.

The board have put their money were their mouth is and backed their chosen manager.

In Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool have a superstar boss, who will get the very best from his players.

When anything looks to be dropping in standards, The Reds faithful will usually turn up the noise in the Kop and that will re-energise the players.

On the pitch they have a world class goalkeeper in Alisson. The Brazilian shot stopper gives the rest of the team assurance that they’ve never had before.

In Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson, The Merseyside club probably have the best full backs in the Premier League. They’re fully committed and bomb up and down the touchline winning tackles and providing terrific balls into the forward line.

I don’t think there’s a better centre-half in world football than Virgil Van Dijk. The Dutchman always seems to remain unflustered and will win the ball with ease. No matter who he plays beside (Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez) him, they always look better with Virgil by their side.

Klopp has a midfield full of warriors in Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Fabinho, Georginio Wijnaldum and Naby Keita. These foot soldiers will fight for every ball, cover every blade of grass and run themselves into the ground for the good of the team. They’re instructed to win the midfield battle and they diligently stick to that task.

Then there’s the fabulous front line of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah. All three are game changers and match winners! Firmino works the hardest to free up space for the other two. Salah and Mane make good on their end of the bargain by scoring plenty of goals.

They then have a few good back-ups to come in and some exciting youngsters that Klopp is starting to bleed through too.

If I had to pick that one integral part of the club that has made all this success possible, then it has to be boss Jurgen Klopp.

If Scot Bill Shankly was the architect that laid the foundations to make Liverpool one of the biggest and best football institutions in world football, then Klopp has renovated the structure to make it a 21st century masterpiece.

Jurgen has kept most of the players that he knew would be cornerstones for his squad and he’s added talent in specific positions that needed strengthening. He has managed to marry those two factions together and build a squad harmony that has flourished into this successful team.

They are an outfit that learn from setbacks. They reached the Champions League final in 2018 but lost out to Real Madrid. Then a year later they went one step better and claimed that illustrious trophy!

Last term they narrowly lost out to Man City in the Premier League before coming back this season refocused and even more determined to reach their ultimate goal. They then blew every other side away and now Jordan Henderson will become the first Liverpool captain to lift the Premier League title.

Klopp has used setbacks and then success to spur his troops onto even more success!

Jurgen Klopp has always been extremely aware and proud of Liverpool’s history and tradition. But he also knew that his players had to step out of other generation’s shadows and make their own fairytale stories:

“Without knowing it at the time, the most important thing I said to the players was that we have to create our own stories and own history,”

Jurgen Klopp Via BBC Sport

His players have followed their manager and because of that, they’ve become worthy champions!

They did it by being swashbuckling, aggressive and energetic – All traits that they managed to get from the superb Jurgen Klopp.

Getting Premier League Back Will Make Summer Special

It now looks likely that we shall see the return of the English Premier League in mid June (Source : BBC Sport). I, for one, can not wait for this restart.

Supporters up and down the country will also be eager to see the return of football. Football tipsters will be desperate to put a wager on these all important fixtures, you can find signup offers at findbettingsites.

With the recent Covid-19 pandemic postponing this summer’s Euros the return of the Premier League will give the whole football community a much needed boost.

Whilst it will be tough without fans some football is better then no football at all. It is up to participating clubs to make these encounters as fan friendly as possible, this could include cardboard cutouts of the season ticket holders in their seats and fan noise over the tannoy.

It will also be great to see Premier League football showcased in the summer months.

Another boost for UK fans will be the fact that a lot of these fixtures will be televised. It’s a nice touch that terrestrial station BBC will cover 4 of these games for the first time in Premier League history.

It would have been a travesty had Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool not been afforded the chance to secure their first ever Premier League title. To then relegate 3 teams without fulfilling the fixture list would have been too much to bear for their supporters.

To see how teams adapt the current climate will also be interesting. Will they make use of the maximum 5 subs? Will that slow the game up? Can the players adapt to playing in an empty stadium? then there is also the issue regarding players fitness, will we see more muscular injuries?

These are questions that can be only answered once the football restarts.

Obviously player’s and staff’s safety has to come first but if these requirements can be met then it seems logical that we carry on the league season until its natural conclusion

I know football isn’t a priority at the moment but its return could really boost morale for football fans around the world. There can be no doubt that the Premier League is a global spectacle and its return would in some way compensate for the missed Euros.

Orkun Kökçü Would Be A Very Smart Arsenal Signing

Arsenal are believed to be in pole position to sign Turkish youngster Orkun Kökçü.

The Metro reported last month that Dutch side Feyenoord have priced the teenager at £23m and are ready to sell as contract talks have seemingly broken down between the player and his current employers.

Even though he’s just nineteen years old, Kökçü has managed to gain twenty-one Eredivisie starts and five in the Europa League this term. In those games he has bagged himself two goals and six assists. He has a passing success rate sitting at 84% and makes around 2 shots per game.

He is a creative central midfielder, who can also be deployed as an attacking number ten if needed. He possesses great awareness, likes to play the ball forward and bring the forwards into play. Orkun manages to remain composed whenever he’s on the ball and likes to look up whenever possible. He isn’t scared of hitting a shot from distance with either foot. Plus the teenager is also able to drift out onto either wing and create from there too.

I think Arsenal would be better served bringing in talented youngsters and supplement the experienced stars that they have already within their ranks. Munch like Arsene Wenger did early on in his Gunners managerial career.

Mikel Arteta could learn a lot from that part in Arsenal’s history. It was about developing a philosophy and getting talented youngsters to buy into that. Pep Guardiola has done a similar thing at Manchester City, where Arteta worked for a few years as his assistant.

The Spanish boss outlined his philosophy before taking up the hot-seat at The Emirates:

“My philosophy will be clear,”

“I want the football to be expressive, entertaining. I cannot have a concept of football where everything is based on the opposition.

“We have to dictate the game, we have to be the ones taking the initiative, and we have to entertain the people coming to watch us. I’m 100 per cent convinced of those things, and I think I could do it.”

Via Football.London

I think to get that plan to work, Mikel needs to surround himself with hungry youngsters willing to learn and do as they are told.

I think Orkun Kökçü would fit the brief for what Artea wants to see from his Arsenal side. I think he along with Kieran Tierney, Nicholas Pepe, Lucas Torreira, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Mateo Guendouzi, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli would give Mikel a great core group to build upon.

Add a few experienced winners into that group and there’s no reason why The Gunners couldn’t make the top four and then use that as a platform in a few years to challenge for the Premier League title!

We Shouldn’t Judge ‘New Normal’ Bundesliga Just Yet!

The Bundesliga became the first major European football league to resume after the Covid-19 pandemic sent us all into lockdown.

It’s return was met with a mixed response. Some loved it and others didn’t.

Fans of German football will have enjoyed seeing their favourite stars on the pitch again, while those of us that like a flutter will have been eager to watch the games too. If you’re a keen and responsible gambler then you should also check out onlinecasinosnoop.com.

Then we had others moaning about the lack of atmosphere without fans in the terraces and how the games resembled training games more than actual full bloodied contests.

I can see both sides of the argument having a point but I’d urge caution when it comes to judging the Bundesliga and the ‘New Normal’ based solely on the first weekend of action.

A lot of football fans hate change and having football being played behind closed doors is one hell of a dramatic change! These supporters were always expected to be all doom and gloom.

I do understand that without fans football is nothing but what do we do? Not having football until we can accommodate fans will mean that we might not see football again this year!

I think lessons will be learned from the opening week, I for one would like to see a trial involving fan noise being piped into the stadia.

After six weeks or so of lockdown, players were never going to be fully up to speed. That added to the fact they were playing in stadiums without fans made the whole affair a bit tense. Once the players have more minutes under their belt and they get used to the surroundings I am sure the quality on show will improve greatly.

I read a report in The Mirror that stated that BT Sport had received disappointing viewing figures for the Dortmund Schalke game, which averaged 500k viewers. I don’t think that’s disappointing in the slightest. It was third in the top tweety non-terrestrial shows shown on Saturday. That’s huge for any subscription channel. For The Mirror to compare that to two shows that can be found on freeview is skewed at best.

We need to give The Bundesliga a few more weeks before we can judge if it’s return has been a success or not. They need to make sure personnel and players remain safe and well and they will also need to iron out a few teething problems. If they can do all that, then the rest of Europe should look to German football as the blueprint as we try to bring football out of lockdown!